Sunday, August 07, 2016

Happy Sunday - thoughts

Happy Sunday everyone!

Pearl Street, Boulder Co. in July

I’ve stayed out of the work force for about a year, thinking seriously about planning a path that I wanted to follow rather than taking whatever opportunity came up. Oh, sure, in the beginning I applied to everything, filled out my checklists and went on interviews, but I was a hamster in a hamster wheel. I also played around with a freelance business. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. I couldn’t stand the hustle of client hunting and follow-ups. I didn't have a sense of purpose. Maybe, in ten years, I might have a different view, but not now. I of course considered doing nothing but attempting to write my novels, but that is something I will continue to do on the side. Writing novels for me is a discovery process, and I haven’t yet discovered the voice that I’m happy to settle on. I write because I love to write. Publication will be a moment of pride and joy. But just a moment. The real joy is in the process.

I was at this mid-point place of asking questions and taking my work seriously because a while ago, a good long while ago, like many women, I sacrificed career momentum - great career momentum - for my family. It’s nothing I’m going to cry about, I’d do it again and again, over and over, and happily, because the particular needs of my family required that I be home for them, or that I take jobs that were more ‘favorable’ to their schedule. And I enjoyed the times I spent at home and I value the time I spent in jobs that let me be home more often. The time with our children is fleeting. So there are no regrets. Especially since I, if I wasn’t working, was working on staying relevant through school, and if I was working in family-friendly jobs, they were related to my field. All told though, I really only fully stayed home for four years when the boys were younger, and this past year, though I've been continuously either looking for work or working so it only qualifies as 'staying home' simply because my location was home! So a drop in the hat, my time at home.

But I was looking at a new world now. A world where my sons are old enough and in a good place, in a good school, a good neighborhood, a good and independent frame of mind, where their needs are, while still higher, not so great that I can think more about what I want in work rather than what I can do that will still help the family. I was also looking at a new employment world where it's normal for people to step out and back in and out again and in, where changes in industry are seen as valuable and accomplishments matter more than staying somewhere. I, and frankly, anyone who's stepped out, or who's in the wrong job, was in a position where I could jump back in to my field with purpose and a sense of direction.

So, after oh, six months of discovery, rediscovery, thinking I wanted one thing, changing my mind, wanting another, applying for all sorts of things, I stopped and asked some questions. What do I love? What have I loved? Where was I the happiest? What do I miss? What did the offices and environments, where I was happy, look like? What were the people like? How did they like their work? Where do I want my career to take me? What type of organization do I want to work for? Where was I not happy? What did those places look like?

Then I stopped thinking. I took a few weeks to just live without doing anything, and let my mind figure things out in the background. Then, I came back to it and focused on finding places that matched the answers to the questions I asked myself. It turned out to be higher education, government, and large non-profits. Places that had a greater mission. Places that worked on making a difference in the communities they are a part of. Places that put a high value on employees and culture. But places that were larger, which was a surprise to me. Organizations with structure who still managed to grow and change. Organizations with room for development and the ability to move and grow without leaving. Organizations that had a reputation for investing in employees, mentorship, and growth. Organizations that  after talking to people and seeing what the organization does in the community, I would be proud to be part of.

And now, I work on Pearl Street in Boulder, which is about as gorgeous a place you can work, in a really cool looking building, for a large government organization. I’ll probably update LinkedIn in a few months, when I have more of a feel on how to summarize my new role, but for all my friends who don’t know, right now, Boulder County is where I’m at.

**and a nice thank you to my friends who have kept me sane and supported me while I went through the whirlwind wacky emotional theatrics of trying to find the 'right' thing instead of 'any' thing!

No comments: